Posts Tagged: gluten free food

Jul 13

The Lido Cafe


Brockwell Lido is one of the few original London Lidos which are still running and open to the public. Whilst you might think of going there for a swim, you might not have thought of going there to eat. The Lido Cafe is an award-winning modern British restaurant which is situated overlooking the Lido and is a seriously popular local haunt which is well worth a visit. 

The Lido Cafe runs parallel to the pool and has a large number of poolside outdoor tables which offer an absolutely gorgeous place to sit and enjoy a meal. A friend and I recently visited for a weeknight dinner and were able to sit out and enjoy the sunshine whilst we ate, which was really lovely. There aren’t many places apart from pubs where you can sit out and eat, particularly in London, and the Lido Cafe offers a lovely relaxed atmosphere with very friendly staff.

The food, too is great; simple, seasonal and delicious. We started with a really excellent glass of Prosecco Silvola Frizzante, priced at £5.50 per glass. For our starters, I went for half a pint of prawns with roast garlic aioli and lemon which was an absolutely perfect starter for a hot day. My friend chose the whole globe artichoke with dijon vinaigrette which was really, really good too. It is rare to find a whole artichoke served in the UK, and we really enjoyed it. Starters are priced at around £6 each.

For our mains, my friend tried a courgette, stuffed with pine nuts, olives, ricotta and peppers which she thought was excellent. It was a tasty and unusual main and was a really good light choice. I tried their steak, which is supposed to be their best selling dish. It is a 35 day dry aged longhorn sirloin steak and was very good indeed. Mains are priced between £10-£18.50 and all offer excellent cooking and great quality ingredients for the price.

We finished with a delicious cup of coffee and headed off as the sun was setting. If you live nearby, The Lido Cafe is an absolute must visit, and is very strongly recommended for a special visit, too.

Jun 13

Jessica’s Recipe Bag

Jessica from Jessica's Recipe Bag

Jessica from Jessica’s Recipe Bag

Have you ever wondered what it is like to have your meals delivered to your door? Well, last week, this was something I gave a go, when I tried the home delivery meal service by Jessica’s Recipe Bag.

The service includes the ingredients to make four meals for either two or four people, planned by a nutritionist, and are delivered fresh to your door by a courier alongside the accompanying recipes, meaning you avoid the planning and shopping part of your meal planning.  You’re not given any choice over the meals and ingredients you receive, but it does make unpacking an exciting experience as you discover what’s on the menu for the next few days. The ingredients in the bag were really fresh and looked great. The recipes included in the bag were interesting and a little bit different, so I was very keen to get cooking.

We tried all the meals and really enjoyed them. The portion sizes are carefully considered and the meals are well balanced. We found it easy to chop and change ingredients accordingly for our dietary requirements.

Jessica’s recipe bag comes in at £69 for 4 meals for 4 people, but is ideal if you love to cook tasty, healthy meals from scratch every night, but lack in either time or inspiration to do so.

Jun 13

The Chequers, Churchill

The Chequers

The Chequers

Churchill is a very pretty village in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, and is home to many well-known residents. It is a picture perfect village with a gorgeous church and lovely Cotswold stone cottages. The Chequers is the village pub and is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. Sat in the heart of the village, it’s a very popular place to visit and renowned for its Sunday lunch, so we popped along to see what we thought.

The Chequers has recently had a refit and is very smartly decorated in a rustic yet modern style, in keeping with the area. The Chequers is a pub, but the food is so much more than pub food. The building is divided into two sections; a bar with seating and a restaurant area with tables, with plenty of seating outside for the summer months.

The menu offers a fair bit of choice and has some lovely seasonal options, such as the delicious grilled asparagus I enjoyed to start. We also liked the confit duck salad as a starter, which was perfectly balanced and dressed.

For the main course, I had to try their renowned roast beef, which was very good, and I say that as someone who is often disappointed by roast dinners in restaurants. The beef was incredibly tender and served with delicious garlic courgettes, as well as a honey roast carrot, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and cauliflower cheese – a feast indeed. Another very popular choice on a Sunday is the half roast chicken with homemade mayonnaise, chips and salad, which was very nicely cooked and presented very attractively.

There is a wide choice of desserts, and we really enjoyed the lemon jelly and syllabub which was deliciously cool and sharp, which made a refreshing end to the meal, which we finished with a Monmouth coffee each.

The Chequers is a great destination for a relaxed meal in comfortable, yet informal surroundings. Make sure you book in advance!

Dec 12

Christmas at Trelowarren and a chocolate cake too

Trelowarren estate

Christmas is not far off now. 2012 has been a whirlwind of a year for me, having written my first three cookery books amongst other things this year.

We’re actually going away right before Christmas is year. Not only am I looking forward to a good break, but it will be particularly nice to get  away at this time of year. There is so much build up to Christmas, that when it actually arrives, it can feel something of a let down, so it will be great this year to be somewhere different.

I thought I’d share our plans with you as I’m sure it will appeal to many foodies alike. We’re off to Trelowarren Estate in West Cornwall. Its right down in the south west of Cornwall in a very remote spot between Helston and the Helford River. The Trelowarran estate is ancient – with 600 years of Vyvyans, 1000 acres leading down to the Helford River and a house that was Daphne du Maurier’s inspiration for Navron in Frenchman’s Creek.

Eco cottage at Trelowarren

Ferrers and Victoria Vyvyan have spent more than twenty years restoring, renovating and building  high spec eco houses, an organic Walled Garden Spa and the ozone pool – all of which are warmed by a giant biomass boiler which burns coppiced wood from the land.

Trelowarran estate

We are staying in one of their very lovely looking cottages. What particularly appealed about staying here, was the New Yard restaurant and pizza pop up on the Estate, so it will be a real treat to have our own space, but not have to worry about cooking and shopping whilst we are away.

New Yard restaurant at Trelowarren

I’ll let you know how we get on. We go at the weekend. Before then, I’ll be back to share some great food and drink ideas for Christmas with you.

And for now, I’ll leave you with a cake recipe we’re really enjoying at the moment, a dark, bitter chocolate and orange loaf cake. It’s very good warmed with a scoop of ice cream on the side.

Chocolate and orange loaf cake

Chocolate and orange cake

Adapted from a recipe by Signe Johanssen


  • 200g chestnut flour (I use Shipton Mill, although it is not gluten free)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • Pinch bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 7 oz dark brown soft sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey)
  • 1 tsp orange extract (I use Nielsen-Massey)
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp Cointreau
  • 200g chunky orange marmalade
  • juice and zest of 3 clementines
  • 100g butter, or dairy free margarine melted
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks (I like Montezuma 73% here)


1)     Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and grease and line a 2lb/900g loaf tin

2)     Mix the flour, ground almonds, raising agents and salt together in a large bowl.

3)     Mix the eggs, yoghurt, vanilla and orange extracts and Cointreau together in a smaller bowl.

4)     Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add all the remaining ingredients.

5)     Gently mix until smooth, then pour the batter into the tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30-50 minutes or until firm to the touch.


Oct 12

A very nice chocolate cake recipe

A dense, moist chocolate cake which keeps well. It’s a great cake to make for a celebration, or a dessert for a dinner party, or just because it tastes amazing. It’s naturally gluten free and is delicious eaten chilled.

Gluten free chocolate cake


For the cake:

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150g butter, cubed
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 200g ground hazelnuts

To finish the cake

  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • Fresh raspberries


1) Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm/8″ round springform cake tin. Line base and side with baking paper.

2) Combine chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

3) Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until thick and creamy. Add chocolate mixture. Beat to combine. Add hazelnut meal. Beat to combine.

4) Place egg whites in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Using a metal spoon, stir one-third of egg whites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold remaining egg white through chocolate mixture.

5) Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre has moist crumbs clinging. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

6) Make Chocolate icing: Place chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth. Spread over top and side of cake. Stand for 10 minutes or until icing has set. Decorate with fresh raspberries

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